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Are There Taxes on Winning a Car?

Find out if you're getting ripped off on your car insurance in less than two minutes.
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Samuel Todd
· 5 min read
If you win a car, you’ll have to pay roughly one-third of the car’s value in taxes—but you might be able to lower your payment by working with a tax expert.
Whether your name was selected out of thousands in a raffle or you took home the top prize on a national game show, winning a car is a thrilling experience. Once the glitter and confetti fade, though, there’s an unfortunate reality to face: it’s time to figure out how to pay taxes on your new car.
If that sounds like a dreadful burden, have no fear—
car insurance
app
Jerry
is with you every step of the way to teach you about taxes on winning a car. We’ll walk you through how you can pay taxes on the car you won, what to do if you want cash instead, and best of all, how to shrink your tax payment and pocket more of your winnings.

How much are the taxes on a car you won?

As a general rule of thumb, your tax payment will be about one-third of your car’s value. So, if you waltzed away from a sweepstake with a $30,000 car, you’ll owe $10,000 in taxes.
The biggest portion of this payment comes in the form of federal income tax. When you file your taxes, the car you’ve won will be viewed as income, and will likely be taxed between 10% and 30% (depending on
your tax bracket
). Keep in mind that you won’t owe the money until April when taxes are due—so you’ve got plenty of time to plan!
The other major factor to be aware of is your state income tax. Nine states—
Alaska
,
Florida
,
Nevada
,
New Hampshire
,
South Dakota
,
Tennessee
,
Texas
,
Washington
, and
Wyoming
—don’t have a state income tax. So, if you’re lucky enough to take home the top prize in the Lone Star State, you won’t have to pay a dime of state tax.
However, if you’re living in one of the territories where state income tax exists, you’ll be looking at an additional tax of up to 9%.

How do you pay taxes on a car you won?

If you’re ready to tackle the taxes on your prized car, you’ll need to research how much the car is worth, study how you can lower your payment, and start saving for Tax Day. Let’s go through each step together.

Step 1: Research the true value of the car

To get an accurate estimate of your car’s value, check out a few different sites (
Edmunds TMV
and
Kelley Blue Book
are two of our favorites). There’s a good chance that the people who are organizing the prize have inflated the car’s value just a tad—after all, a “braaaaand new $28,499 car” doesn’t really roll off the tongue!
If you can establish that the car is actually worth less than what they claimed, you might not have to pay as much when tax season comes.

Step 2: Learn how to decrease your tax payment

Next, it’s time to look into ways to reduce the amount you owe.
Consulting a tax expert
is the best way to get a detailed run-through of your options, but we’ll hit a few highlights for you:
  • Contribute more to a 401(k). If you send more of your paycheck to your retirement account, you’ll lower your taxable income and pay less for that beautiful new car.
  • Save for college. If you’ve got a savings account set up for your kids through a state or educational institution, you could cut down on your state income tax payment. 
  • Fund a health savings account. Putting money into an HSA and using it for medical expenses is a great way to deduct from your taxes.
Finally, if you really don’t need another vehicle, you can donate the car. You’ll be able to write off the car on your taxes and help out a friend, family member, or stranger in need—talk about a win-win!

Step 3: Budget and save 

Before you know it, Tax Day will be here, so it’s a good idea to start saving early. Put together a budget and set aside a bit of cash each month for your tax payment.
Psst—want a quick and easy way to save some serious dough? Check out
Jerry
, our revolutionary car insurance app. We’ll get you the lowest rates within minutes—and the average Jerry user saves $887 a year!

What if you want cash instead?

Maybe you’ve already got a stellar car, but you wouldn’t mind some extra money. You’ve got two main options:
  • Get cash directly from the promoter. Sometimes, the owner of the giveaway will offer an alternative prize: cash. Touch base with the promoter of the event to see if you can swap out your ride for a hefty check.
  • Sell the car and pocket the difference. If you put it directly on the market, you might be able to dodge the
    depreciation of the car
    and get a strong offer. You’ll still take a hit when taxes are due, but you should be able to turn a profit.

What if you still can’t afford to pay the taxes?

If taking a cash prize isn’t an option and you can’t find a buyer for your car, these are your last lines of defense:
  • Request a
    payment plan
    from the IRS. This will help you pay your taxes over time and lessen your financial burden a little bit.
  • Reject the prize. If all else fails, you can refuse to take the prize from the promoter—that way, you don’t have to worry about paying taxes on it.

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How to get cheap, customized car insurance

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Jerry
Jerry is your one-stop shop for car insurance savings, finding you the best quotes within minutes. What’s more, we’ve got a team of talented insurance experts who are ready to take the hard work off your hands—that means no long forms or unwanted phone calls! As a
licensed broker
, Jerry does it all for you right from the app.
Here’s the cherry on top: the average Jerry user saves $887 on
car insurance
. Now, on with the celebration!
“The savings are real!
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saved me almost $1000 a year for my car insurance. Was I surprised? Yes. Was I happy? Yes!” —Sonia Z.
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FAQs

If the car you won is perfectly suited to your needs, it’s a great idea to keep it. Otherwise, we’re big fans of taking the cash—you can use it for whatever you want, or put it in an account for safekeeping!
You’ll owe taxes on the car you’ve won in April—so you should have lots of time to plan for Tax Day.
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